Aesop Knew: Regulators Regulate – It’s Their Nature

Seton Motley | Less Government
Please, Get Off Our Backs

Aesop was a Seventh Century, B.C. Greek philosopher – mere “storyteller” doesn’t do him justice. The best storytellers are philosophers – because they tap into truths of human nature. Aesop certainly did that.

His famous Fables revealed these truths through simple animal allegories. There are (at least) several that apply to the creatures in the world of politics. Of late one especially leaps to mind.

The Scorpion and the Frog

A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”

The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream,the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown, but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”

Replies the scorpion: “Its my nature…”

Far too many government officials (and civilian Leftists) are Aesop scorpions. It’s in their nature to regulate. And regulate again. And then regulate some more. In Baby Boomer Radical parlance, they are willing – even eager – to destroy the village in order to save it.

For them, ideology imposition is paramount. They are regulators – thus they must regulate. They remain steadfastly impervious to facts – or find them utterly irrelevant. No matter how much damage they do and are doing, they relentlessly push forward to ever further foisting.

Presidential candidate Barack Obama repeatedly said he was going to “fundamentally transform” America. Filmmaker and author Dinesh D’Souza rightly points out that before you can remake it – you must unmake it. Burn, baby, burn.

The Internet has been a place of blissful respite from this governmental destruction. Because the relevant law – the 1996 Telecommunications Act – specifically tells the government to leave the Web alone.

But leaving something alone is no way to fundamentally transform it. So the Obama Administration has spent its entire tenure trying to commandeer control.

President Obama’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – and its Obama-appointee Chairman Tom Wheeler – are contemplating fundamentally transforming how the government regulates the Web. It’s called Title II Reclassification.

Title II is the uber-regulatory superstructure with which we have strangled landline phones – you know, that bastion of technological and economic innovation. Which do you find more impressive – your desktop dialer or your iPhone?

Title II regulations date back to the 1930s – so you know they’ll be a perfect fit for the ultra-modern, incredibly dynamic, expanding-like-the-universe World Wide Web.

This would be the most detrimental of all Information Superhighway road blocks. Rather than the omni-directional, on-the-fly innovation that now constantly occurs, Title II is a Mother-May-I-Innovate, top-down traffic congest-er. Imagine taking a 16-lane Autobahn down to just a grass shoulder.

But fret not, the regulators tell us. They will wield just some – and not all – of their massive new powers. They will practice “forbearance.”

“(F)orbearance” refers to a special magic power that Congress gave the FCC…which gives the FCC the power to say “you know that specific provision of law that Congress passed? We decide it really doesn’t make sense for us to enforce it in some particular case, so we will forbear” (hence the term forbearance’) from enforcing it.

But a scorpion is going to be a scorpion – a regulator, a regulator. How confident are we frogs that every single government scorpion will – in perpetuity and for always – leave these new powers on the table? And not use them to sting us – again? And again? And…?

When they have set themselves up to do so – by vastly overreaching their existing authority with their illegal imposition of Title II Reclassification? The huge sting that makes all the subsequent others possible?

When the very nature of Title II itself “doesn’t make sense for us to enforce”on the Internet?

Aesop knew the answer. We should too.

Editor’s Note: This first appeared in Human Events.

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